After bumpy road, Kansas finally signs off on first phase of $40 million DMV computer system

TOPEKA, Kan. - The bumpy road for the state of Kansas' $40 million computer system appears to be in the rearview mirror, according to a letter obtained by 41 Action News.

In the Dec. 20 letter, Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan informed contractor 3M that he was finally signing off on the upgrade, more than seven months after it launched.

Records obtained by 41 Action News show 3M had asked for approval three different times — in August, October and November — before state officials agreed the major issues were fixed.

Last summer, computer glitches and bugs caused long lines and delays at DMV offices around Kansas. A number of counties racked up large overtime costs to catch up with the work backlog.

A letter from Jordan to 3M in June first detailed the major problems, which included response time delays, maintenance issues and computer bugs.

The official letter of approval started a 12-month warranty period for any problems that materialize. 3M has already agreed to tweak a few minor issues.

"This acknowledges the significant improvements in system performance and stability since June," said Kansas Department of Revenue spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda. "We have achieved a number of milestones within the updated system. More than 2 million transactions have been successfully processed, and wait times returned to normal this summer."

A second phase dealing with driver's licenses is expected to launch sometime this fall, according to Koranda.

Meantime, Kansas will continue to withhold the final $2.5 million payment to 3M until the entire project is complete.

On a related note, an audit of the DMV computer implementation is expected to be finished in August, according to Deputy Legislative Post Auditor Justin Stowe.

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Facebook.

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